The more things change, the more they were never the same.
The lure of the exotic, the unknown and the new vs. the pull of the known, the own and the familiar. Very often the story of life boils down to this; and the balance of the two. Yes there are the fortunate few, who never face the dilemma or those even fewer and even more fortunate ones who face it and emerge stronger for it – comfortable in the knowledge that they know themselves and exactly that which makes them happy.
But for the vast majority of us, this balancing act continues ceaselessly as the two sides ebb and flow, tugging us along for the ride.
And many a times the tugging, the pulling and the pushing, and the constant oscillating between the two, lulls us into a false sense of security. Not because the conflict could one day end (well, death does a good job – but apart from that…) but because we assume that the known will always remain. And that it will always remain known. But as we walk along merrily in search of our new, we forget that the familiar changes as well while we are away. No – I will not bore by talking about how the des changes as we explore the pardes. No. That we know. We all do. Doesn’t make it any less valid or true – but that is not the point of my rant.
The point is that there are so many aspects and factors to each of our familiars that we often fail to notice that the change is not in that which is apparent but often in other things.
People like me come home to friends and acquaintances. Or we meet friends and acquaintances out there in the wild, wild west. And we muse upon how things and people have changed. And then, in some sparkling moments of clarity or luck we realize, or someone nicely points out to us, that it never was what we thought it was. Maybe that’s where the whole theory of “maya” came up.
What we remember as our familiar depends on us, our circumstances, the time, our memories, the level and capacity of our understanding, our maturity, the other person’s circumstances, their maturity, their naïveté, our naïveté, our respective dependents, co-dependents, blah blah blah. Yea. Lots.
Say I meet old friend Sushmita and wonder what suddenly made her so bitter. Oh heck yes – if I had to face half as much as she faced so far, I might be twice as bitter. Or not. Maybe. Who knows? But then I talk to another friend who gently points out that she was always this bitter. Yes. And negative and petty too. I was either too forgiving, too pre-occupied with life, or, more probably, too naïve to notice. And maybe I simply didn’t care.
As we grow our old relationships are burdened more and more with our ever increasing expectations from them. The fact that we have known a person for 15 years somehow adds a greater level of preoccupation with them in our lives.
So… Is this true for my relationship with my country too? Was des the same and I just remember it differently? Was childhood not the idyllic place I picture it to be? Are my memories rosier than the reality? Or less? Do I place too much importance on my relationship with India simply because I see others making a big deal about whether I love India equally since I don’t live there?
Who knows? All I see today is that as we were busy exploring the new and the exotic, the familiar changed and so did its tune; its pull, its draw and its appeal. That living in the now has a whole new meaning as I pack away my musings so that I may concentrate more fully on enjoying the new familiar. Or the familiar yet new. Because it is no longer simply the familiar. Things have changed and so have I. And I am once again ready to explore.
And I suddenly realize that this is a gift. A blessing beyond what I could have thought to ask for. For what better than to have a life that brings newness with age rather than jadedness? Look out des, ‘coz I’m ready to get to know you all over again. No longer as the young, blithely indifferent little girl. But as a grown woman. Who sees you through a completely new vision.